Where the wild ideas are

Introducing PRECISIONeffect’s new brainstorming app, Wild Cards

Variety of colorful light bulbs

Whether you’re concepting the next medical miracle or thinking through a catchy headline, unfiltered creativity is vital. The world’s greatest innovations have come from an “outside of the box” idea – or, as some might say, a wild idea.

At PRECISIONeffect, we have a tendency to go off-leash when it comes to creativity. We know that changing the standard of care requires moving beyond the obvious, the cliche, and “tried-and-true” approaches. However, we also know that we cannot change the standard of care alone. 

We need diverse people and ideas. We need not just our Effectors, but the industry at large, too. To help the curious innovators outside our agency walls unlock their own, unfiltered creativity, we’ve created a mobile app that’s centered on helping you find the next big, “out there” idea – aka, a Wild card.

Simon Wilson, SVP, Innovation Director

We spoke with our SVP, Innovation Director, Simon Wilson who led the charge in building Wild Cards on how this app came to be, and why he’s so passionate about brainstorming and creativity.

Q: What is Wild Cards?

A: Wild Cards is a free, iOS and Android mobile app–created by PRECISIONeffect–that allows users to “jump start ideas with one tap.” In other words, it’s a tool that will help foster more ideas, creativity, and innovation in group meetings or brainstorms.

The app has 38 creative methods available, presented as a “wild card,” all of which require no preparation or tools beyond a pen, paper, and brains. It’s best for those moments during a creative meeting when discussion has stalled and you need to quickly breathe new life into the group. Best of all, it’s applicable to any industry and problem-solving scenario – whether it be a concepting a creative ad campaign, new product, or technical process.

Q: Why did you and your team decide to create a brainstorming app? What pain points were you looking to solve?

A: As PRECISIONeffect’s Innovation Director, I am keen on discovering how we can bring about more creativity and innovation. I’m interested in not just the end result, but in the process. How can we facilitate innovation better? How can we do it faster?

I came up with the concept of an app as I was thinking about what happens when you’re creatively “blocked.” There’s a plethora of advice online about how to make brainstorms better but, when you’re in that meeting, it’s impractical to pause and look up these techniques. Often, the best advice is buried deep within an article, requiring a lot of set-up that is unproductive in a live ideation session.

So, what I wanted to create was a useful tool that could help people fast – something in the moment, inside a creative meeting. I wanted users to be able to pick it up, read 1-2 sentences, and have the ability to re-energize their brainstorming session.

Q: What factors came into play when conceptualizing the design and user experience of Wild Cards?

Wild Cards, a free, iOS and Android mobile app–created by PRECISIONeffect–that allows users to “jump start ideas with one tap.”

A: First and foremost, I wanted users to have access to these innovative, brainstorming techniques in a way that was easy to use, and fun. Every technique is presented in a “punchy,” consistent format. We’ve taken many of these sophisticated concepts and have broken them down into a short blurb that’s both entertaining and thought-provoking. 

For example, one of the techniques we share is to think about how a famous figure would approach your concept. We provide short instructions, and then provide a simple question to ask the group – in this example, we’ve boiled it down to “What would Beyonce do?”

It was also important to me that these techniques are shared at random. Brainstorming creativity is about being in the moment. We didn’t want users to spend time scrolling through a long list of ideas to get started; which is why you won’t find many menus inside the app. When using Wild Cards, a random idea from our catalog will pop up on your screen. If you don’t like it, you can simply tap and it’ll suggest something else.

Lastly, the app and techniques shared are applicable to any industry. You don’t have to work in advertising or pharmaceuticals to benefit from Wild Cards.

Q: Speaking of creativity, how did you come up with the name Wild Cards?

A: There are four principles to brainstorming – one of them is to suggest “wild” ideas. As an agency that prides itself on breaking molds and changing the standard of care, the name was well suited to represent our brand.

Q: How did you curate and catalog the innovation techniques found in Wild Cards?

A: There were three of us who contributed ideas – myself, our Director, Digital Strategy Jack DeManche, and our Chief Creative Officer, Deborah Lotterman. Editorially speaking, our process was quite simple – we focused on the simplest techniques. 

It was paramount that the app was designed to be simple and fast. We looked at each technique and idea through the lens of “what can be described and understood quickly?” 

Q: As an expert in innovation and creativity, what’s the biggest obstacle you feel firms face in holding effective brainstorming sessions?

A: The biggest problem I see in brainstorming sessions is that people don’t come up with enough ideas. Quantity of ideas matters, quality does not. So many people are afraid to speak out in a creative session because they think “I’ve got to have a good idea.” That’s simply not true. You don’t need to have good ideas, you need to have a ton of ideas.

I’d encourage readers to think about it this way: If you have ten ideas, the chance of one of those ideas being outstanding is probably something like 1%. Now, if you have 100 ideas, what are the chances of one of those ideas being really great? 

Interested in trying your hand at Wild Cards? Wild Cards is now available, free of purchase, on iOS and Android devices. Learn more.

Kudos to all of our effectors who helped bring Wild Cards to life:

  • Simon Wilson, SVP, Innovation Director
  • Jack DeManche, Director, Digital Strategy
  • Deborah Lotterman, Chief Creative Officer
  • Caryl Haddock, Senior Medical Editor
  • Josh Trillow, Tech Lead
  • Oleg Plevan, Front End Developer

“Every day we are working towards changing the standard of care for both patients and HCPs. Not everyone can say they help to change lives in their job, and I am proud to say we do!”

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